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tv   CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell  CBS  March 20, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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>> tonight, battle for libya. u.s.-led attacks and enforcing a no-fly zone intensifies for a second day. but the pentagon says, muammar qaddafi is not a target. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight, on the ground, a defiant qaddafi shoots back bowing a long war as rebels take rounds in benghazi. >> anxiety rises in quake ravaged japan as food and water show signs of nuclear contamination. and staying connected, technology provide's lifeline for students trying to find loved ones in japan's disaster zone. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> good evening. a second wave of u.s.-led air attacks against libya is under
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way tonight as b2 bombers from the first wave return to their base in missouri late tonight. on the ground, u.s. aircraft attack libyan forces south of benghazi for the first time while muammar qaddafi remained defiant, calling nations allied against him the party of satan and vowing to fight inch by inch for his country. we have correspondents on the ground in libya and in washington with the latest and we begin with national security correspondent david martin at the pentagon. >> an unmanned reconnaissance zone takes off from sicily to survey the damage done by american missiles and bombs. an overhead photo shows what happened to the battlefield. >> you can see the shelters, one of which we have blown up here that is actually flattened. >> since the assault began on saturday, u.s. and british warships have launched 124 cruise missiles and sent three stealth bombers flying nonstop from the u.s. >> we judge these strikes to
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have been very effective and significantly degrading the regime's air defense capability. >> the aim was to enable u.s. and allied planes to enforce a no-fly zone over libya without having to worry about ground fire. >> the first 24 hours of operations we have been able to effectively establish the no-fly zone. we have got actually french airplanes over benghazi as we speak. and we will be able to do that on 24/7 basis. >> that clears the way for jet fighters flying off ships in the mediterranean and bases in italy to hunt for targets of opportunity on the ground. mainly, qaddafi's army units still trying to attack his opponents. >> if they're moving and advancing on to the opposition forces into libya, yes, we will take them under attack. >> it's no contest between the world's greatest superpower and a third rate military. but as the u.s. learned the hard way in iraq, getting off to a shock and awe start does not guarantee a successful ending. qaddafi has not stayed in power
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for 42 years by accident. >> he is a thug, a cagey guy, he is a survivor. we know that. it's difficult to know how it comes out. >> it's not likely to end with qaddafi being killed by an american bomb. the u.s. military insists he is not on the target list. russ? >> david martin at the pentagon. thank you. >> explosions have been heard in libya's capital of tripoli tonight. it's not clear what has been hit. mark phillips in tripoli has more on the situation there. >> after more than 24 hours of attacks, the libyans are getting increasingly nervous, for good reason. >> as darkness fell on the second night of these attacks, tracer fire repeated by it will up the night sky over tripoli. no planes or missiles were visible but explosions could be heard in the distance. for the first time, there was some evidence of a strike within tripoli, a plume of smoke just visible against the night sky, from the general area of a
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qaddafi residential compound. there's been no evidence that he is staying there anyway. in fact, muammar qaddafi has not been scene for several days. his tv appearances have been via telephone calls to libyan state tv stations carried over a picture of the monument to the last time the united states bombed libya in 1986. qaddafi threatened a long war and claimed he would open up the country's armed stockpiles to a million libyans. the libyans claim there have been more than 60 casualties from the bombing. and held a public funeral for what they say were some of the victims. it's impossible to verify their claims. but the crowd that showed up needed no convincing. >> this isn't just a funeral. it's a political rally and a statement. the regime may be under attack but it's still trying to show it has the support of the people. >> and within this crowd, at least, it is popular.
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but the supporters who turn out at these events do so suspiciously on cue and follow the instructions of the regime's cheerleaders. >> it makes him stronger? >> yes, it makes him stronger. >> but what other people who are not here might think, it's impossible to tell. >> and now the libyans have again promised a cease-fire, the same promise they made two days ago in which they were accused of repeatedly violating, and this promise has been greeted with the same "show me" skepticism as the last one. >> mark phillips in tripoli, thanks and fay care. >> the coalition air strikes have given relief to rebels in libya but the situation remains dangerous and sporadic gunfire was heard in the rebel stronghold of benghazi tonight. mindy clark is there. >> the advance on benghazi stopped here.
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coalition planes stloid dozens of tanks and armored vehicles on the outskirts of the city. rebels heading west to the frontline were eager to show us the wreckage, scattered along the roads. government fighters and police have retreated beyond agedabya a hundred miles. >> this is a real morale boost for the rebel troops. they now feel momentum is back on their side. >> abdul salaam is grateful for the allied strikes. he said libyans need to capture qaddafi themselves. >> we want to take him to justice and we want him to see. >> these rebels say they won't stop until they reach tripoli. >> first we go to agedabya, then to sirte and finally the capital, this former soldier says. those fighters are pushing ahead but benghazi is not safe. pocks of qaddafi loyalists
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remain in the city. they were shooting at civilians from this vehicle yesterday. one motorist shot back and killed them. rebels later torched the car. >> they are in the city and we are fighting them as much as we can. >> these men were driving when they came under fire from qaddafi forces. there was a cease-fire, so we thought we were safe, he says. it's not safe for government forces either. many were killed in street battles over the weekend. rebels are thankful for the protection from above but the ground battle, they say, is one they must fight on their own. mandy clark, "cbs news," benghazi. >> in his first public comments, defense secretary robert gates said tonight he expects the u.s. to hand over control of the military mission to the coalition in a few days. he spoke briefly about libya on the road in brazil. chip reid is traveling with the president in rio de janeiro.
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>> it's being called the split-screen presidency, on one side the military operation in libya; on the other, president obama in brazil, visiting a rio shantytown known as the city of god, and refusing to allow the turmoil in libya to distract him from what he says is vitally important business here. >> the united states and brazil should expand trade and investment. and we create new jobs and opportunities in both nations? reporter: but behind the scenesy step of the libyan military operation, holding conference calls with the top brass and getting frequent briefings from national security aides who are traveling with the president. in public though the president today kept the focus on strengthening u.s. brazil releases giving libya no more than a passing mention. >> we have seen the people of libya take a courageous stand against a regime determined to brutalize its own citizens. >> the white house said he
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changed his schedule to call the king of jordan to discuss support for the coalition and say the president will continue to keep his schedule flexible to deal with the situation in libya, however they have no intention of cutting this trip short. from here, on to chile and el salvador. russ? >> is anyone at the white house second guessing the timing of the trip, wondering if the trip should have been put off given what is going on in libya? >> they're not. >> white house officials say, number one, the president can do anything here he could have done back in washington. number two, they say the president's number one priority still is jobs for american workers and that's what this trip is about. russ? >> chip reid with the president in rio. thank you. coming up on tonight's cbs evening news, disaster in japan. and new radiation fears for the food and water is supply >> japanese authorities are
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advising a village near the
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crippled nuclear plant not to drink tap water because of radioactive levels of iodine and radiation traces in found in vegetables. the total dead missing from the earthquake and tsunami is 21,000. 100,000 children have been displaced and almost 20,000 people have been rescued. bit whitaker has more. reporter: in a country indesper, this is being called a miracle. an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson rescued from the wreckage nine days after the earthquake and tsunami ravaged much of northeast japan and rattled the entire country's confidence. the survivors were akeer owe's mother and son. >> i believe in the power of life and i believed my mother was also make it. >> good news on the front. workers succeeded in extending power cables to reactors two and one, the least damaged reactors. they will try to restart pumps on monday to flood in cold water
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and bring down the temperatures of overheating fuel rods. while reactors five and six are relatively stable, firefighters continue to douse reactors three and four where spent fuel rods still could overheat, meltdown and spew radiation into the atmosphere. japan's defense minister said the situation remains serious. a survey done yesterday indicates the storage pools for spent fuel rods are all under 100 degrees, he says. that means there is water in the pools and that will help with countermeasures from here on. cold comfort for the people of japan, low levels of radiation have been detected in spinach and milk around the plant, even shown up in fava beans exported to taiwan and now has been detected in the drinking water of tokyo. the government insists the levels are too low to harm human life. still, hundreds of people took to the streets of tokyo on sunday to protest the country's
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rely ans on nuclear power. >> the government has no intention of stopping the nuclear operation, saying this will never happen again. i want to appeal to the world that this is very dangerous. the agent fukushima reactor number one was due to be retired later this month. now the prime minister's office says, once stabilized, the entire plant will be shut down permanently. now being discussed, a chernobyl-like solution once this immediate crises is over to encase the entire plant in sand and concrete. russ? >> bill whitaker in tokyo, thank you. just ahead on the cbs evening news, what would a libya without qaddafi looks like? >> the violence in the middle
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east is spreading to syria, where demonstrators demanding reforms set fire today to a courthouse and offices of the ruling party. they were protesting friday's kill of of five activists by security forces. voting freely for the first time in 50 years, egyptians overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments that could lead to early elections. the vote came following protests of ousting hosni mubarak last month. mubarak had ruled for 30 years. the outcome of the allied attacks on libya is still unknown. joining us for perspective is nicholas burns. nick, good evening. >> good evening, russ. >> a couple of scenarios. what is muammar qaddafi is able to hang on? what happens next? >> if he hangs on, then we're looking at a protracted civil war between these parties, the qaddafi forces and the rebel forces. we have essentially intervened
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in the middle of the civil war. we have taken the side of the rebels. we took away the offensive from qaddafi by taking about the no-fly zone and striking at his military position. if he stays and holds on that means the united states and the european country less have to stay involved to maintain the no-fly zone and we could be there for weeks, months, or perhaps longer. >> what if he is brought down? >> if ka david martin agree falls from power we will see the result of the gamble the administration has taken. if we have intervened this civil war on behalf of a group we don't know well. they don't have a coherent leadership, they don't have an established program. we don't really know what they stand for. so if qaddafi loses power we have no idea what individual or group of individuals would replace him and what their position ideology would be, whether it's positive to the united states or perhaps even negative. and that's quite unusual and quite a gamble for our government to have taken. >> let me ask you, given what is going on in libya, do you see
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any possible way that qaddafi could stay in power? >> i think it's very likely now that his days are numbered, that he is going to fall from power. once having enter veens with this military force it's difficult to believe he could achieve a military victory and what the u.s. and europe has done will give a jolt to the rebel forces and it's just a matter of time from now before qaddafi falls from power. >> nick burns thank you for your insight. >> thank you very much. just ahead on tonight's cbs evening news, economic after shocks from the japan quake, some some consumer items could be in short supply
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>> the disasters in japan have disrupted the supply of manufactured goods in parts of the u.s. that is costing jobs and causing shortages. as we hear from our reporter. >> it's an economic jolt from japan's quake here at home. 900 workers at this gm plant in louisiana are out of a job indefinitely because the trucks they build use electronics from japan and the quake has halted supply. >> it's not a good thing. when good things happen it ripples throughout the economy. when bad things happen, it ripples through the economy. >> most of japan's car factories were not directly hurt in the damage. but several companies had to stop production. rolling blackouts make power unreliable. honda said 1/3 of the 110 suppliers are shut down and much of the country is in no condition to get parts moving again soon. >> the real issues are look of power, lack of transportation to get workers up there. >> truckdriver dennis up craft
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delivers cars from long beach california. images like these have him worried. >> after seeing what happened on the tv and seeing the cars that i deliver get ruined and talking with the people at the poria, they're talking about two to three months we won't have anything to deliver. >> about 40% of the parts and pieces in our every day electronics, like flash memory strips or l.c.d. screens come from japan. apple's ipad ii is already sold out and japan's parts shortage may make it tough to get one. >> we don't see prices to go up in electronics. i think the first thing consumers are likely to see are holes on the shelves. >> consumerscy they can wait. >> if we have to wait for gadgets, we can wait. there are people without water. >> japan's third largest auto maker, nissan said they will restart full production this week. >> in seattle, boeing's biggest airliner and the rifle to
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europe's airbus took to the skies on the first test flight. the 747-8 intercontinental can carry 467 passengers. the first of the new planes will be delivered next year. that was no ordinary moon glowing in the sky last night. it was a supermoon. making its closest approach to earth in 18 years, the moon leaks 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual. we will be back
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>> of course it's tough being away from home when disaster strikes. for japanese students here in the u.s. desperate pour answers about involved ones back home, distance makes things harder. but technology is making it easier to stay connected. >> for three days 20-year-old exchange student akiko kosaka could only see pictures of her
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village destroyed by the tsunami. then the student found this video on you tube, amazingly showing her sister holding up a sign saying "we are all safe." she could barely belief it. >> i just wanted to hear their voice and see their face. >> tatsugi kosumi was studying for his finals at ucla when his parents in tokyo emailed him. >> they are ok, please do not worry. >> but kosumi has not been able to contact relatives in sendai because they do not have a computer. >> i haven't heard from them since the earthquake hit. >> for japanese students in the united states, facebook, at which timer and social media sites have become a lifeline as they try to find loved ones back home, not just the japanese. soon after the tsunami hit, these high school students in modesto, california, began skypeing and texting with students in japan. they had planned to visit next month as part of a student change program. >> i texted one of my japanese
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students and said is everything ok? and he said, yes, i don't live close to the earthquake. >> gwen muranaka, editor of a japanese newspaper in l.a. set up a missing persons locator on the website the morning after the quake. it had 65,000 hits in the first five days. it's sites like these helping ucla students fight missing relatives. >> i didn't think that we would see people that lost or get affected by it. >> kasumi and others are staying connected online even though they're an ocean apart. >> and that is the cbs evening news. thank you for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ mitchell. "cbs news" in new york. katie couric will be here tomorrow. goodnight. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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strong weekend storm...and trees down, power out and flooded roads everywhere, how the bay area fares from a strong weekend storm. what's ahead for tomorrow. showers continue around the bay area, a couple more big storms to come. do we have to worry about flooding? we'll talk about that coming up. mother nature always wins, no matter what you do. >> getting back to boating and business, in santa cruz harbor the significant step today to recover from the tsunami. cbs5 "eyewitness news" is next. ,,,,


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